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Friday, July 19, 2013

An Overdue Update

I can remember when I expected to have my revision of The Passion of the Heretic script and of Rebel With a Cause: The Radical Reformer finished in November of 2012. Life interfered. I interfered. The Economy interfered. This all held up the reprinting of my sold out book, Rebel With a Cause. Now I am poised to finish the script re-write by the end of July, 2013, and begin the additions to the book and a rewrite of the former non-script parts of the book. So it looks like a fall printing date. If nothing interferes.

As for the film, no one with millions to invest has shown up as of today. I'm still convinced this story could be a money making film for some enterprising Executive Producer. Whether it is my script, my script revised by professional screenwriters, or another vision of Michael's story, I do not care. My part in this project is to be a catalyst to getting a narrative film made about the life of this extraordinary Enlightenment man who was, unfortunately, born in the Renaissance period. Somehow, someway, someone in the movie industry will tell the right person this dramatic story and the money grease will fall into place. Wheels will turn.

It is my contention that had Michael been born one hundred fifty years or two hundred years later, he would be celebrated with John Locke, Francis Bacon, Voltaire, Issac Newton, Gottfried Liebniz, Benjamin Franklin, Immanuel Kant, and many other Enlightenment notables. He could have known and discoursed with many of them. The primary difference would be the Inquisition would have been laid to rest and his ideas and contributions could have been more easily accepted or critiqued. Though there could have been an adversary as powerful as Calvin, there would have also been more protectors. Martin Luther only succeeded in his breakaway from Catholicism because German Princes gave him protection. Michael's ideas were too radical in 1553, but could have at least gotten a fair hearing in 1753.

I digress from my writing, or rather, my lack of writing. I am at page one hundred in the script, having gone over the previous pages and added improvements (I hope) and more drama at important moments. I have been reading also. I have started Michael's Christianismi Restitutio (English translation, Christopher Hoffman and Marian Hillar, Edwin Mellon, 2007). That is hard reading for me, even in English since I am not a theologian and it would be dense reading even if I were.  I'll get back to that, but for now I have moved on. I re-read Jerome Friedman's Michael Servetus: A Case Study in Total Heresy. This book provides an explanation of Michael's theology, not exhaustive, not necessarily correct, but available. I wish there were more scholarly studies of Michael's thoughts and beliefs.

Around page one hundred in the script, Michael arrives in Geneva and the great trial gets underway. This is the most difficult part of the script for me to write. How do I show the trial drama to an audience without making it into a boring journey through legal and theological arguments? And when that is necessary, how to show the intense theological debate Calvin and Michael had to an audience that would not follow it anyway? As I said about Christianismi Restitutio, I have a lot of trouble following it myself. In this quandary, I turned to the current masterpiece of legal investigation into the trial, Did Calvin Murder Servetus. At five hundred and sixty-two pages, sixteen appendices, and fourteen pages of biographical references, this is a mighty tome to study. It does, however, explain the intricacies and substance of the trial. Stanford Rives, Esq., the author, has explained the trial and Calvin's part in it in great detail with nearly one thousand (990) footnotes. I haven't finished re-reading it, but it will make the presentation of the trial much more exciting. Mr. Rives has honored me with several email exchanges over the past few years.

Another thing I must mention is the encouragement to keep working on this I have received. My wife has always been a source of understanding support. Several friends ask me about the project when they see me. I have gotten two requests for books through social media networks in the last week. Since the book sold out in October of 2012, it is exciting to have this mini-revival of interest. A few months ago my dear friend and blogger buddy, Helen Holshouser bought a book Helen has mysteriously been interested and impressed with my script and book to a greater extent than most of my other peeps. She has bought more books and talked to more people than anybody else. She also gives me more flattery (of the good kind) than I probably deserve. Helen wrote a magazine article about me and my writing for Our State magazine. They only accept articles from their regular writers. We are holding publication by someone until the new book is ready. I'd like to extend many thanks to all my friends with a special tip 'o the hat to Helen.

And if I finish the book in the fall, that is just in time for your Christmas giving list.

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